With his documentary feature “I Didn’t See You There,” visibly disabled filmmaker Reid Davenport aimed to make a film about how he sees the world from his wheelchair “without having to be seen himself.” In this exclusive clip from the feature, which is playing in the U.S. Documentary Competition at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival, Davenport captures footage from his wheelchair while opining about the history of freak shows – a thought spurred by the appearance of a circus tent outside his house.
“Every time I went out to film, the circus tent was in the shot,” Davenport begins. “The tent made me think about the legacy of the freak show, about being looked at but not seen. Freak shows used to display certain people – brown, queer, disabled – as ‘human oddities’. Performers included Calvin Phillips, ‘the famous American dwarf child’, Chang and Eng, ‘Siamese Double Boys’, and Jenny Lee and Elvira Snow who were billed as ‘Pinheads.’”
Described as personal and unflinching, “I Didn’t See You There” not only takes viewers inside Davenport’s POV from a cinematic standpoint, but also asks the viewer to consider the world through Davenport’s eyes – a perspective that, as the title suggests, is so often ignored.
Check out the exclusive clip in the video at the top of the article (and click here to watch with closed captions), and below have a look at the poster for the film. You can also access the clip in a version with Audio Description by clicking here.
“I Didn’t See You There” premieres at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 24.